How do you recover from those epic days? Boundary pushing long runs or bike rides? A long or intense race? Anything that pushes you “to boldly go where” you haven’t physically been before requires attention to recovery afterwards.
Personally, I have failed epically at this in the past, burning myself out in many creative ways.
Racing each Saturday for 4+ hours each time for the past three weekends was exhausting, especially for those of us in the back of the pack. How can I best recover between each event and not blow a fuse this early in the season? In the past, recovery to me meant plenty of couch time with a good book, or going to bed a little earlier. But I wanted to develop some better skills so I can get faster. And have more fun. So I even bought the book, The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery, by Sage Rountree to see what more I could learn.
So What Have I Discovered about Recovery?
Three broad categories, and a lot of subtlety about timing.
Easy exercise- encourage circulation to speed nutrients to damaged and tired tissues. Example: a 30 min. walk.
Doing nothing physical, but getting the deepest rest possible to rebalance hormone levels and allow for repair. Example: the treasured afternoon nap.
Replacing the nutrients depleted by training and racing. Example: a post-workout recovery drink.
- Difference between recovering from training and racing
- Mental/nervous system fatigue
- Glycogen depletion
- Muscle Soreness/Damage
- Overall Stress Response
Unfortunately, I could not find the easy formula I wanted. Recovery seems to be more Art than Science. While the physiological processes are scientifically clear, there is tremendous individual variation. Which means trial and error. I want the plug and play version, and instead I learn that a lot of tweaking is necessary.
My first big racing block is over, and my experiment with what I’ve learned about recovery begins. Today’s recovery protocol will be: a walk in the forest, meditation, a long nap with brain wave entrainment, and a few supplements. Tomorrow will probably be a repeat.